Istanbul hosts the 38th FIDH Congress

Press release
ar en es fr ru tr

On 23 May, Istanbul will become, for one week, the human rights capital of the world. More than 200 NGOs from 130 countries will gather to discuss and exchange views on a current theme: "Human Rights and Democratic Transitions: Experiences and Challenges".

400 human rights defenders will be present, including Shirin Ebadi (2003 Nobel Peace Prize, Iran), Asma Jahangir (UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion from 2004 to 2012, Pakistan) or even Kamel Jendoubi (President of the Independent High Authority for the Elections, Tunisia).

The International Criminal Court’s President, Sang-Hyun Song, and Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, will also participate in this event.

"Turkey has reached a major crossroad. Our Congress is particularly timely and we hope that the exchanges that will take place during these five days will allow the civil society to better understand the challenges that lie ahead on issues of freedom of expression, minority rights and justice," said Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President.

"The peace negotiations between Turkey and the PKK authorities marked a turning point in the management of the conflict. The choice of dialogue was the right one. They must now continue to persevere until meaningful change is achieved, and ensure that human rights are guaranteed in this transition process " added Ms. Belhassen.

The recent release of 22 trade unionists and 8 IHD leaders reflects the government’s commitment to improve the human rights situation in the country. These initiatives must now apply to all lawyers, journalists and activists unjustly imprisoned. Turkey is at a turning point and many countries in the Maghreb and the Middle East are paying close attention. It must, therefore, set the example.

In this context, on 24 April, FIDH presented the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister with a letter to Prime Minister Erdogan calling on him to implement 8 measures in accordance with Turkey’s international obligations. These are essential to guarantee freedom of expression, ensure that the fight against political violence respects human rights, release those detained arbitrarily, and ensure that victims of human rights violations have access to justice, truth and reparation, including guarantees of non-repetition.

Read the letter addressed to the Turkish Prime Minister

FIDH is an international NGO which unites 164 organizations of human rights in more than 100 countries. FIDH holds its Congress every three years; event during which members together define strategies for action and elect the International Bureau of FIDH.

Program of the World Congress of FIDH

  • 23/24 May Forum on "Human Rights and Democratic Transitions: Experiences and Challenges." Open to the press. Read the full programme.
  • 25/26/27 May: Internal FIDH Congress.
Read more